The American Economy: Profit Over People

1250 Words5 Pages
In the face of a changing and more globalized economy, a new emphasis has been placed on the pursuit of higher education in the United States. A sense of desperation abounds as competition and economic uncertainty drive individuals to pursue more lucrative and stable paths, to which education supposedly holds the key. Consequently, attendance at colleges and universities has become a necessity in the view of many Americans. This push for higher education has consequences for society that have been expounded in the work of Paulo Freire, and his theories regarding education and oppression in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In his work, Freire frames education as a great equalizer and a means by which the oppressed may “liberate themselves and their oppressors as well” (Freire 44). However, the educational system that is currently emerging in the United States allows for an establishment of economic repression to endure. Standing in stark contrast to liberating education is the “banking concept.” Rather than nurturing critical thinkers, the latter involves the mechanical instruction of students as if they were a purely ignorant entity. It is an enemy of independent thought and serves to hinder the process of liberation that Freire describes. In the United States, an increasing focus has turned to an educational style that seems to reflect the banking concept. With the Common Core, standardized testing dominates, and generalized assessments influence the perception of educational success, rather than more personalized measures. This places stress on teachers and administrators to improve scores, without necessarily improving the learning process. On NPR’s Fresh Air, Diane Ravitch further described the detrimental effects: “So what h... ... middle of paper ... ... free and independent thinkers will diminish and, accordingly, the universal liberation Freire envisioned will be made unachievable. Thus, the oppressed shall wait, and wait some more. Works Cited Block, Melissa. All Things Considered. National Public Radio, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012. Print. Gross, Terry, host. Fresh Air. National Public Radio, 28 Apr. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. Gutting, Gary. “The Real Humanities Crisis.” The New York Times, 30 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013 Lessenbury, Jack. “U of M is out of reach for most Michiganders - can new President help?” Michigan Public Radio, 3 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2014 Murray, Charles. “Are Too Many People Going to College?” They Say I Say. Graff, Gerald. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 222-42. Print.
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